Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Oh, great. After Condi and Ashcroft and Clinton and everyone but Richard M. Nixon (and only because he is dead), the farcical 9/11 commission interrupts its grandstanding long enough to engage in some finger pointing -- this time by scapegoating the FBI.
Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, said the FBI is "an agency that does not work."

"It failed and it failed and it failed and it failed," he said.

Former Attorney General Janet Reno made the dramatic charge that the FBI, an independent federal agency, "had information they didn't know they had," and what they did know, they refused to share. "The left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing," she said.
No doubt there's some truth to that, and the FBI's methods need to be reworked. But they were only a symptom of a larger problem: we, as a country, as Americans, refused to openly acknowledge or deal with terrorism and terrorists. Prior to the WTC bombing, terrorism was something that affected the Brits, the French, the Israelis -- and possibly an unfortunate American tourist. Even after the WTC bombing, and the embassy attacks, and the Cole, we looked at terrorism as a nuisance, nothing more -- something to deliver a speech about, threaten "American justice" (trials, cushy prisons, and randomly fired cruise missiles -- oooooh!), and then get back to arguments over who stained whose dress, that Elian kid, and whether a Florida voter should be trusted with that sharp ballot-poking instrument.

9/11 was supposed to have changed all that. The nation was on a war footing, and no longer would we be a bunch of passive airline hostages, waiting for the big boys to negotiate for our release or maybe come to our rescue. We were taking responsibility, acknowledging the dangers ahead, and admitting that prior to 9/11 our priorities were a bit... misplaced. We were more worried about offending the sensibilities of foreign students than protecting our own citizens, and we paid for it -- dear God, did we ever pay for it.

Well, if the 9/11 Commission is any indication, all this has been forgotten. And we're back to partisan sniping and the old, stupid Clinton Sucks/Bush Sucks "dialogue." Worse than that, we're looking for someone to carry the "fault" for 9/11, seemingly forgetting that the problems that led to 9/11 were not just procedural but societal, and that we simply can't expect terrorism to be the responsibility of the FBI and CIA, and as for the rest of us, it's not our problem. Wasn't that how we got 9/11 in the first place?

Update: More from the Gweilo.

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